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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 5:22 PM ET

Did You Hear the One About Quantitative Easing?

Posted By: Julia La Roche

Apparently it is possible to turn the recession, quantitative easing and the euro zone debt crisis into a laughing matter.

Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke
Getty Images
Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke

About ten financial professionals from investment banks, private equity firms and hedge funds participated in the first annual comedy competition for Wall Street Tuesday night sponsored by the Gotham Comedy Club in conjunction with Thomson Reuters.

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 5:03 PM ET

If I Were Queen

Posted By: Nicole Lapin

This morning, a day after the world went gaga over a Royal engagment, my producing team for Worldwide Exchange in London thought it would be funny to have a split screen of me and the future queen of England .

Lapin Middleton
Lapin Middleton

Beyond any momentary laughter at a trivial stretch of a psychical resemblence, it got me thinking about the fiscal power this young woman could have to change a storied \(and currently broke\) nation—known for being home to The Beatles and Shakespeare but more recently austerity measures \($128 billion over 4 years\) and deficit woes \(10 percent of 2010-2011 GDP\).

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 4:56 PM ET

Layoff Rumor Spooking Barclays Capital

Posted By: John Carney

Barclays Capital has been quietly laying off employees since this summer. Now, however, the firm is swarming with rumors that big layoffs could be coming in the next few weeks.

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 4:47 PM ET

Group Calls For Citizens Arrest Of John Paulson

Posted By: Ash Bennington

A group of corporate pranksters called The Yes Men is pranking again: This time, one of their targets is hedge fund manager John Paulson. The group is calling for a citizen's arrest of Paulson, based on his large holdings of AngloAshnati Gold stock—as pointed out by Lawrence Delevingne in his article today for Absolute Return + Alpha.

John Alfred Paulson, president of Paulson & Co., Inc, listens during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee November 13, 2008 in Washington, DC.
Tim Sloan | AFP | Getty Images
John Alfred Paulson, president of Paulson & Co., Inc, listens during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee November 13, 2008 in Washington, DC.

But, so far, the Yes Men fingerprints are hard to find. What there is this website . The website is a spoof—and impressive factual imitation—of the official Apple website . (Even the URLs look similar.)

The general idea seems to be this: Apple's iPhone contains minerals that are sometimes mined in conflict zones. In the words of the spoof website, "…[T]he minerals that are used in the production of various software products have largely been extracted from mines in Africa, especially the Congo. For the most part this mining has gone unchecked and therefore companies have been unable to tell whether or not the mines they source their materials from have been mines under the control of rebel groups further fueling a conflict that has killed more than 5,000, 000 civilians."

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 4:13 PM ET

Reid Pulls Plug on Pickens Plan

Posted By: Lori Ann LaRocco

C-Suite reported yesterday the Pickens Plan would not pass because it could not get the votes to pass. Today sources tell CNBC it was pulled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid because he could not get enough votes for cloture.

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 3:20 PM ET

Cornell College Student Wants To Ban Goldman Sachs From Campus

Posted By: Cadie Thompson

Any Cornell grads who go work for Goldman Sachs are "a**holes" according to an editor at the Ivy League school's student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun . He wants to see Goldman Sachs banned from recruiting on campus.

Daniel Sparks, former partner and head of the Mortgages Department at the Goldman Sachs Group, Joshua Birnbaum, former managing director of the structured products group trading for The Goldman Sachs Group, Michael Swenson, managing director of structured products group trading for The Goldman Sachs Group and Fabrice Tourre, executive director of the structured products group trading for The Goldman Sachs Group are sworn in while testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Af
Getty Images
Daniel Sparks, former partner and head of the Mortgages Department at the Goldman Sachs Group, Joshua Birnbaum, former managing director of the structured products group trading for The Goldman Sachs Group, Michael Swenson, managing director of structured products group trading for The Goldman Sachs Group and Fabrice Tourre, executive director of the structured products group trading for The Goldman Sachs Group are sworn in while testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Af

Tony Manfred, the associate editor at the student newspaper, is obviously borrowing a bit from Matt Taibbi, who famously called Goldman a Vampire Squid.

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 2:49 PM ET

Lehman's $500 Million in Found Money

Posted By: Ash Bennington

It must have been a little like when you find a wadded up $20 Bill in the pocket of last year's winter coat: Judge James Peck ordered the sum of $500 million to be returnedto the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers. Which party, exactly, was ordered to return a half billion dollars to Lehman? Bank of America.

The money had been provided by Lehman Brothers to Bank of America as collateral for Lehman checks in August of 2008.

Judge Peck said of the matter: "It is difficult to understand how BofA could have thought that taking the money was the right thing to do without first seeking permission from the court," which is not exactly a very sympathetic reading of Bank of America's failure to return the funds.

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 2:08 PM ET

Partnership Day At Goldman Sachs!

Posted By: John Carney

Goldman Sachs named 110 new partners, according to an internal memo obtained by Financial News .

The Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Getty Images
The Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Goldman partners, who are officially called Partnership Managing Directors or PMDs, get an increased base salary, the opportunity to invest in Goldman deals, a discount on Goldman stock purchases and a share in the partner compensation pool, among other perks. These latest PMDs join the firm’s existing 375 partners. Goldman names new partners every two years.

Goldman partners typically take around 20 percent of the firm's total compensation pool. That money is divided up between partners according to a secretive "points" system. Basically, each of the partners is assigned a certain number of points by the head of his department. The more points you get, the more you get paid.

Here's how I described it last year :

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 1:17 PM ET

Politics, Populism, and Monetary Policy

Posted By: Ash Bennington

My colleague John Carney wrote a piece yesterday about the politics of American monetary policy.

Carney's basic assertion is this: A major sea change—if not an outright reversal—has occurred in the political alignment between left and right on basic issues of inflation, unemployment, and monetary intervention.

He's looking at the issue over a 40+ year time horizon:

"The critics [of tight money] have traditionally been Democrats—such as banking committee chairs Wright Patman in the late 1960s or Henry Gonzalez in the early 1990s."

Carney's piece takes what I believe to be a fascinating tack—and got me thinking about the issues involved in an even more expansive sense.

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  Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 12:47 PM ET

A Conversation About Put-Backs

Posted By: John Carney

The vast windows of the room had a terrific view of Central Park at night. It hardly seemed like the time or place to discuss the mortgage repurchase exposure of Citigroup, Bank of America and JP MorganChase.

But somehow the conversation had wandered in that direction.

“Here’s a good number to ponder—$500 million,” the young hedge fund manager said.

“What about $500 million?” I said.

“That’s the amount that Goldman Sachs spent litigating the Abacus deal with the SEC. A single deal gone bad. $500 million to wrangle with the SEC, and another $500 million in fines to settle the case.”

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  • NetNet is where you'll find the low-down and the high jinks of Wall Street. It's the place for insider stories, trader gossip, and tales of the foibles of the moneyed crowd and the culture of finance.Wall Street news and commentary served fresh all day long.

 

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  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."

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